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Get to Know CHaD's Special Hero Event: Evan Seely and Sharon Brown Share How Important This Event Really Is

Oct 10, 2019 07:20PM ● By Jessica Bowman
CHaD’s annual hero event this year is on the 20th of October 2019. Each year the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) , host various events. One of their ongoing, and most well-known events, is the annual marathon.

Starting in 2005 as a simple runner’s marathon that raised around $50,000, this event evolved into something much more successful within the span of fourteen years. Image Magazine interviewed Evan Seely, Community Relations Manager, and Sharon Brown, a former cast member, to ask an insider’s tale on what this event means to CHaD and the people of the community.

“…and y’know we thought we were the greatest thing since sliced bread, just raising $50,000,” Brown says with a laugh. This year, as posted on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock website, CHaD has raised a whooping $830,000.

The families of Hanover, NH, and especially the families of children residing in Dartmouth, have always been a huge support for this event. Originally, it was Jeff Hastings and a woman named Mimi Myer who built this event and had a major hand in making it what it is today.

What once was a runner’s marathon, has now grown to include bike rides, a 20km section, a 50km section, and hikes up mountains, all with the singular goal of raising money for a good cause. This is the reason behind these events. “It’s really a community day…there’s music and food and there’s just a feeling of people coming together to do good,” Brown continues.

The motivation behind this event, is as it has always been, the philanthropy behind supporting the children of the hospital. Brown went on to explain that one of their goals is to put the “fun” back in “fun”draising. Given how this event has evolved over the years it is not hard to see they have achieved their goals.

“Most importantly we want to continue to raise money for CHaD and keep supporting the hospital and these children,” Evan Seely says, regarding the future of this event.

The money for this event goes towards the non-billable services that CHaD provides. Of course, there are medical services and medicine the children need, however, Seely and Brown expressed the meaning behind these non-billable services.

One such service is child advocacy protection which is a service providing for children who may be victims of abuse or neglect. The child life program provides specialists that work in the hospital to meet the social or emotional needs of the children. A child who may be preparing for surgery may need some one on one attention that these specialists are there to give. This program may help a one year old understand that it is important to take your medicine, or it may help a seven-year-old prep for a scary surgery and have the confidence to be brave going through it. This program may also help a fourteen or eighteen-year-old understand what their illness is and how they are going to get through it.

It’s these kinds of programs that on a surface level seem like minor things but they are detrimentally important to the wellbeing of the child who is going through a taxing time. These programs and specialists are also for supporting the families of the children.

“It’s not a billable service but it’s a critical one, needed for the philosophical care of the children wherever they are developmentally,” Brown says. By hosting these fundraising events CHaD not

Every year for this event CHaD picks out a Kid Hero, this selection is somewhat random, but CHaD tends to highlight the children of families who are among the biggest supporters and activists in the hospital and in their child’s life. The Kid Hero is also chosen in part to tell a story, to tell the story of the child and the family and of what goes on in CHaD. This year, a young boy by the name of Finn was selected to be Kid Hero.

When asked what the qualification was for selecting this Kid Hero, Sharon Brown almost immediately replied, “You mean aside from the fact that he’s so adorable!” Brown laughed, her tone held nothing but excitement as she listed off some of the reasons Finn was chosen. Already it was clear that these representatives of CHaD embody the spirit of care they are talking so highly of.

“The Webster family has just been phenomenal,” Seely says. “They are extremely active in their community for representing CHaD and a number of other things. So, we felt they would be able to represent the hero and CHaD very well…Finn’s just been a joy to have on our team this year.”

Brown adds onto this by saying that it is a hard thing to do, to ask a family who is going through so much pain and worry for their child to be as involved as they could be. This means it is always a joy to see a family and a child who represents the spirit of being a Kid Hero, engaging as much as they can with the community and supporting the hospital. 

This is just one of the many events that CHaD hosts, other honorable mentions would be Battle of the Badges, a hockey game which pits NH police officers and NH firemen against each other, usually held down in Manchester. There is also a baseball game, a football game, a movie screening, and a storybook gala hosted by the Community Relations department at CHaD.

“The one major difference, with this event, is its much more open to participants. The other events, people are picked for those teams, but this is the one event that really brings people together to fundraise individually.” Brown says.

Regardless of where the future of this event takes CHaD and the children of the hospital, we wish them nothing but good tidings.

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